Master your Minecraft

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Original Essays | November 7, 2014

    Carli Davidson: IMG Puppies for Sale? Read This First

    Shake Puppies contains an almost unsettling amount of cuteness. There is a good chance after looking through its pages you will get puppy fever and... Continue »

Qualifying orders ship free.
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside International Studies- Oil Politics

Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline


Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline Cover

ISBN13: 9780385511452
ISBN10: 0385511450
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $12.95!



Author Q & A

What made you decide to write about oil?

I covered Saddam's birthday party in Iraq in 2001, and it was obvious that the culture, Saddam – everything was enabled by oil. Then I had another assignment from a small [Native American] village in the far north of Alaska that had been protesting development there. They saw themselves as fighting not only oil development but oil culture. I realized how little I knew about oil, yet how much my life was entangled with it. Oil is almost always covered on the business pages, but I wanted to find this other story – the story you wouldn't expect to find.

Oil is such a complex subject; how did you know where to begin?

Once I decided to start at the gas station – with a portrait of consumership – it all made sense. You have to understand why consumers act the way they do, and how they defy textbook economic rationality, to understand the kinds of cartwheels the rest of the system does.

What will it take for us to consume less gas?

Things outside the country are going to cause the price to rise. And the ways we had of keeping prices low are basically falling apart. Inside the country, I don't think the issue is one person driving an SUV. It's a very wide change that needs to happen. Since the 1930s, the government has set out to assure supply. What we really need to do is address demand and limit it in ways that are good for our economy.

Lots of people think high gas prices are a price-gouging conspiracy by big oil companies, but you advocate looking at the big picture. What does that mean?

We're facing big issues that will need complicated solutions. In China, bureaucrats are thinking about the next hundred years, and we've essentially outsourced that planning to the oil companies. So we need to start thinking about how we are going to insulate ourselves against environmental and economic catastrophe. Then, on an existential level, we need to say, "our destiny is essentially in our hands." But to really start making long-term plans and start thinking strategically about how we're going to do this, we need to bring the oil companies to the table.

(Originally published in Publishers Weekly)

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

savitha_karanth, April 10, 2007 (view all comments by savitha_karanth)
she has very good points in this book, however, they are not continuous. This not only makes the reader to loose interest, but also confused. the flow should have been more continuous instead of the all other unwanted information. overall this book is interesting only if you read in full.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline
Margonelli, Lisa
Lisa Margonelli
Lisa Margonelli
Nan A. Talese
Economic Conditions
Industries - Energy Industries
General Current Events
Publication Date:
December 2006
Grade Level:
9.40x6.58x1.20 in. 1.39 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. American Theocracy: The Peril and...
    Used Hardcover $4.50
  2. American Fascists: The Christian...
    Used Trade Paper $7.95
  3. Little Big Man Used Mass Market $4.95
  4. Rubbish!: The Archaeology of Garbage Used Trade Paper $7.95
  5. The Bottomless Well: The Twilgiht of... Used Trade Paper $3.71
  6. Robbing the Bees: A Biography of...
    Used Trade Paper $7.50

Related Subjects

Business » General
History and Social Science » Politics » International Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » Politics of Oil
Science and Mathematics » Energy » Oil and Petroleum

Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Nan A. Talese - English 9780385511452 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In the last few years, just about everyone has had 'oil on the brain' at some point, as record gas prices and a disastrous war have called our dependency into question. But though the U.S. burns 10,000 gallons of gasoline a second, few of us know how oil is created and drilled, how gas stations compete or what actually goes on in a refinery — let alone what happens in the mysterious Strategic Petroleum Reserve, where the U.S. government stores roughly 700 million barrels of oil in underground salt caverns on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Margonelli answers these questions and more, before examining some of the key patches in the oil industry's geopolitical quilt: source countries like Chad, where promises of real local growth fall hopelessly short, or China, which, 'by 2025, perhaps, will import as much crude oil as the U.S. does now.' Writing in a witty, first-person voice, Margonelli criticizes corruption in places like Nigeria, while expressing her 'love of hydrocarbons' for the unlikeliness of their formation and the ingenuity required to extricate them. This is an original, open-minded look at a subject about which everyone has an opinion." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Starting at a local gas station, Margonelli sets off to meet the people behind the pump, who lead her deep into the economics, politics, chemistry, and culture of petroleum. Along the oil supply chain, through the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the NYMEX oil market, she finds unexpected delights and troubling contradictions.

  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at